Grand Duke of Westarctica

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The title Grand Duke of Westarctica was created by Travis McHenry in June 2004 as part of the transition of the Achaean Territory from a new country project to a sovereign nation. The legal basis for the creation of the title is found in the Grand Ducal Mandate, as well as the Achaean Royal Charter.

Choice of title

Due to the vast land area encompassed by the country of Westarctica, there has been significant speculation and even occasional criticism over Travis' decision to proclaim himself a Grand Duke rather than a King or even an Emperor. As a sovereign leader of a newly-created monarchy, there were a wide range of titles to pick, but only the title of "Grand Duke" seemed to fit the description of what Westarctica actually was: a monarchy with limited resources and a small population, recognized by few world governments, and generally dependent on the kindness of larger nations for its continued existence.

In a 2018 interview for a documentary film, Travis gave as his motivations:

When you tell people you're a King, they're immediately credulous. Firstly, there aren't many Kings reigning in the world today, and most of them aren't hanging out at Starbucks on a Saturday morning. Secondly, there's a certain association that comes with being a King, and I don't think I'm there yet. We still have a tremendous amount of work to do before I can kick back and enjoy sitting on a gilded throne. A King is someone who has come through all that already. I'm not there yet. I'd love to have the title of Emperor someday, but it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Besides, there's not much dignity in being a poor Emperor. When I tell someone I'm a Grand Duke, it's a title they've never heard before, so they keep listening while I explain the history of Westarctica and before they know it, I've delivered the whole elevator pitch and they're asking how to sign up for citizenship.

So I picked the title of Grand Duke because it's accurate and obscure. I've kept it because it fits and it works.

Additionally, Travis was partially inspired by the Grand Duchy of Haren micronation in the choice of making Westarctica a Grand Duchy instead of a Kingdom or an Empire.


Succession to the title of Grand Duke of Westarctica is governed by Royal Decree RD-2020-001 - Succession to the Crown and Throne of Westarctica.

List of Grand Dukes of Westarctica

Portrait Name Reign Consort
Grand Duke Travis.jpg Grand Duke Travis 30 June 2004 - 14 January 2006 Grand Duchess Cathryn
Duke of Ravencroft.jpg Grand Duke Philip 14 January 2006 - 20 December 2008 Grand Duchess Melinda
Jon-Lawrence.jpg Grand Duke Jon-Lawrence 30 December 2008 - 2 June 2010 Grand Duchess Lisa
Throne Vacant[1] (2 June 2010 - 21 September 2012)
Grand Duke Travis.jpg Grand Duke Travis 21 September 2012 - Present Prince-Consort Dinny

[1] Although the throne during this time is generally regarded has having been "vacant," it was technically abolished until the Charter of Westarctica reinstated the role of Sovereign